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As Canada prepares to legalize marijuana on October 17, a U.S. official has warned that Canadians involved in the cannabis industry could face a lifetime ban from entering the country.
While some U.S. states and cities have loosened restrictions on marijuana, border patrol considers the drug an illegal substance and will classify those who work in the marijuana industry as drug traffickers. Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, told Politico on Thursday that investors in the pot industry will be banned as well. “If you work for the industry, that is grounds for inadmissibility,” he said.
Owen added those who have invested in the industry in other countries, including Israel, have also been barred.
“We don’t recognize that as a legal business,” he said.
If someone trying to enter the border from Canada says that they have used marijuana in the past, they could be denied entry to the U.S., Owen noted. That person can then apply for a waiver on the lifetime ban, which costs $585.
“Our officers are not going to be asking everyone whether they have used marijuana, but if other questions lead there—or if there is a smell coming from the car, they might ask,” he said.
In the U.S., 30 states, including Washington, Vermont, Alaska, and Maine along the Canadian border, have legalized marijuana. “If you lie about [use],” Own added, “that’s fraud and misrepresentation, which carries a lifetime ban.”